England defence coach Paul Gustard has agreed to join Aviva Premiership side Harlequins as their Head of Rugby following England’s tour of South Africa this summer.
Having joined Eddie Jones’ team in 2016 from Saracens, Gustard helped England win back-to-back NatWest 6 Nations titles, as well as Test Series victories in Australia and Argentina.
The 42-year-old believes he could not turn the opportunity down at the Stoop but admits he has appreciated his time with England.
“I am a proud Englishman and it has been a privilege to represent my country and work under Eddie,” said Gustard, who was initially contracted with the RFU until 2019.
“There have been some incredible memories which I will cherish, and I will look back proudly on my contribution with England.
“I am desperate for England to do well as we push on to World Cup glory next year.
“My relationship with Eddie is strong and positive. He has supported me in accepting this new role and I will continue to have a strong relationship with him on our tour to South Africa and beyond.
“I would like to thank the RFU and Eddie personally for their support and for allowing me to leave early to take up this fantastic opportunity with Harlequins.”
Gustard’s playing career including almost 100 appearances for both Leicester Tigers and London Irish, and a brief stint at Saracens before becoming a coach at the latter to work alongside Jones in 2006.
After asking him to join the England set-up in 2015, Jones praised Gustard’s work over their time together and believes he will thrive at Harlequins.
“I wish ‘Gussy’ all the best at Quins,” said Jones. “He is a talented young English coach and a very good choice for the role.
“He has made a big contribution to the England coaching team as our defence coach and I’m happy that he has this opportunity to develop and prove himself in a head coach role.”